Mr. BORDEN (Halifax).
sad fate to lose during the recess, and I thank him all the more because his kindly remarks have dispensed me from dwelling further on that subject.
I am glad also to join with my hon. friend in the congratulations and the generous tribute which he has paid to the mover and seconder of the address. My hon. friend from Haldimand (Mr. Thompson) and my hon. friend from St. John and Iberville (Mr. Demers) are still young members, and although their parliamentary careers have been short they have both taken high rank on the floor of this House. We have heard them before ; we knew what they were and we knew what they could do. To-day we have had further cause for admiration, but we had no cause for surprise at what they said and how they said it.
I have, however, to take issue with my hon. friend (Mr. Borden) on the subject, matter of his speech, although as regards its tone and its language I think it was in excellent parliamentary style. On one or two points the hon. gentleman was hypercritical and perhaps even carping. But I must do the hon. gentleman the credit of saying that lie is not half so bad as he makes himself out to be when he is speaking from his place on the opposite side of the House. The hon. gentleman (Mr. Borden) has been endowed by nature with a fair and judicial mind, and I readily believe that if he always spoke his own judgment from the seat which he now adorns, he would sometimes revise the opinions to which he gives utterance. But the hon. gentleman belongs to a party which a long possession of power has confirmed in the belief that they were born to rule; and. so, regarding power as their own attribute they are ready to believe when they are defeated that they have been robbed of their own. Thus, whenever they have been deprived of power, they are more or less in a bad humour, and like Rachel mourning her lost children they refuse to be comforted.
iMy hon. friend has asked information from me on certain subjects, some of which are referred to in the speech and some of which are not. Be has made an earnest appeal to me to give him a frank statement of the position which we occupy in regard to thei Alaskan boundary. I shall answer that appeal in the spirit in which it was made.
At long last a treaty has been made for the settlement of that vexed question which has for years been pending. It is a question of great importance inasmuch as, if not settled, it could lead to very serious and even perhaps to very dangerous consequences. A treaty has been negotiated by His Majesty's ambassador at Washington and the Secretary of State of the United States for the settlement of that question. As to the treaty itself I am bound to say that in my opinion at all events-with the single
exception of a very slight blemish to which I shall allude presently-the treaty is eminently fair. The treaty provides for a reference of the boundary to a court to be composed of six impartial jurists of repute, that is to say, the commission has been entrusted with the task of dctenhining what is the boundary as created by the treaty of 1825 between Russia and Great Britain. It is not a compromise; it is not an arbitration; there is no giving and no taking; but it is simply to have a judicial interpretation of what is the true boundary ; each party agreeing in advance to accept the boundary has it may be declared, and whatever loss it may give to the other. This is a great victory. I consider, in one way, that we have obtained over the pretentions which have been hitherto advanced by the United States. Up to the present time the United States have refused, steadily refused any kind of reference of that question if the consequences were to entail to them any loss of territory. This is one of the questions which was referred in 1898 to the Joint High Commission. We toad it before us on more than one occasion, and we had discussions of long duration with reference to it, but it always came to this at the end : that the United States would not agree to any terms except on condition that the possessions that they have at /the present time were made theirs beyond doubt. The question has involved some serious consideration from the fact that it is possible, that the boundary, after it has been delimited by the commission, may perhaps show that some territory which now is occupied by one party really belongs to the other. Take for example the tow.i of Skagway, which is now in the possession of the United States. It Is possible that the boundary which is going to be delimited under this commission may Hiow that Skagway does not belong to the United States but to Great Britain. Up to the present time the United States would not agree to any treaty whatever which might place their ownership of Skagway, and -similar territories in jeopardy. They wanted to make it sure, that in anv event, whatever the result might be, their possessions, including Skagway, should remain in the teritory of the United States. The Joint Commission had proposed in 1898, and in 1899 when we sat at Washington, that as it was a case somewhat parallel to the case of Venezueala, the precedent of Venezueala should apply. The rule which had been laid down by the Venezuealan treaty under somewhat similar conditions to this was as follows there were three principles laid down but it is sufficient for the purpose of this discussion to cite only this one :-
la determining the boundary, it territory of one party shall be found by the tribunal to have been at the date of this treaty in the
occupation of a subject or citizen of the other party ; such effect shall be given to such occupation as reason, justice, the principles of International law and the equities of the case, shall in the opinion of the tribunal require.
It seemed to us that was a very fair rule, We proposed it to the American commissioners, but they would not accept it unless it were coupled with this rider :
That all towns and settlements on tide water, settled under the authority of the United States, and under the jurisdiction of the United States at the date of this treaty shall remain under the authority and jurisdiction of the United States. ,
We would not agree to such a condition. This condition has been maintained by the United States from 1899 up to the year 1903; but in the treaty which has been negotiated and signed by Sir Michael Herbert and Mr. John Hay, this rider has been removed; and now the United States go to the arbitration with Canada without any condition of that kind, but agreeing that both parties shall submit to the award which shall be given by those six jurists of repute.
Now, it seems to me that we could not have more than has been given by this treaty. As my hon. friend from Haldimand (Mr. Thompson) has said, we do not want any territory which is not ours; neither do we want to part with any territory which is ours. We are willing to take the consequences of this commission. We may lose or we may gain. If we lose, we shall pay the consequences; if we gain, our opponents must pay the consequences. This is the position in which we now go before the court to have this question determined. So far as the treaty itself is concerned, or that part of it at all events, there is no point that has been gained by anybody. It has been said by the press that Canada has made a surrender. I am glad to say, and the House will agree with me, that there is not a particle of surrender in this treaty. It is fair and honourable to both parties, and I am more than pleased that our American neighbours should have come to that conclusion. With regard to the composition of the tribunal, the article of the treaty referring to it provides for a tribunal of six impartial jurists of repute, three to be appointed by the United States and three by Great Britain; and therefore we have a fair tribunal. If impartial jurists are appointed on either side, we shall have as fair a tribunal as it is possible to have.
I have said there is a blemish in the composition of the tribunal. The only blemish I can see in it is that it is not so composed as to ensure finality of decision. If there were seven jurists, or five, instead of six. there would be of a certainty a majority in any event, and the matter would be finally disposed of ; but as the tribunal is constituted, it is possible there may be three on one side and three on the Sir WILFRID LAURIER.
other, in which case there will be no decision. But even if we have no decision, we shall have obtained what my hon. friend attaches some importance to-the best education possible for the American people, the British people and the Canadian people, as to the merits of this question. But I may say for my part that I do not apprehend any such result. It seems to me that six impartial men ought to be able to come to a conclusion on a question of this kind.
I agree with my hon. friend on one suggestion he made-that if we are to appoint commissioners on this tribunal, they must not be partisans, but they must be the best men and men of the highest character that the British empire can supply. We had. at one time reason to believe that on the American side as well as on the British side the jurists of repute would be taken from the bench. We would have been glad indeed if the President had seen fit to take the commissioners from the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States.
But now I come to the crucial point of this question, the only one on which at this moment I feel some delicacy about speaking. It has been rumored in the press that the President had selected men who were not judges, and men who, from their previous record, could not be called impartial jurists. I am not aware that Mr. Root, the Secretary for War, has expressed any opinion at all ; but he is a member of the administration of President Roosevelt, and it seems to some of us anomalous that a member of a party who is before the court as a suitor should sit on the bench as a judge in the case. With regard to Mr. Turner, I understand that he has expressed himself somewhat against the Canadian contention. However, I have not seen any word he has spoken except something in the form of a short report in the press. As to Mr. Lodge, he has certainly given utterance to expressions of such a character as to cause some reflection upon the advisability of placing him upon that court. We 'have made representations to Great Britain upon all these matters. The correspondence in which we have been engaged was concluded only yesterday, and it is not yet possible for me to place it on the Table of the House. Perhaps it is preferable that I should not proceed any further on this question, until the whole of the correspondence can be placed on the Table of the House, so that members on both sides shall have an opportunity to judge of the action we have taken. Therefore I shall not say any more at present, but in a few days I will bring to the House the whole of the correspondence. In fact,
I think I shall have authority to lay before parliament the whole of the correspondence which has taken place between the Canadian government and the imperial government from the time the .Joint Higli Commission adjourned in Washington in 1899.
My hon. friend has called upon me also to give information on the subject of trade with Germany. It is quite proper that this desire of my hon. friend should be gratified. He has called our attention to a paragraph which is to he found in the blue-book containing the proceedings of the imperial conference, as follows :
In coneotion with the discussion of the question of preferential trade the conference also considered the point raised by the commonwealth government as to the possibility of the colonies losing most favoured nation treatment in foreign countries in the event of their giving a tariff preference to British goods. As, however, the exports from the colonies to foreign countries are almost exclusively articles of food or raw materials for various industries, the possibility of discrimination against them in foreign markets was not regarded as serious, and as the exports from foreign countries to the colonies are mainly manufactured articles it was recognized that if such discrimination did take place the colonies had an effective remedy in their own hands.
My hon. friend said a moment ago, if you recognized that you had an effective remedy in your own hands for the unfriendly attitude of Germany, why did you not make use of that weapon ? The answer is obvious. My hon. friend has hot forgotten that last year he asked for the production of the correspondence which had been going on for some time between the Canadian government and the German authorities. At that time we were not in a position to bring down the correspondence; it was not complete; but at present it is complete, and we are ready to bring it down, and within a few days we shall lay it on the Table of the House. I may say also that this subject will be taken up again in the budget debate by my hon. friend the Minister of Finance. My hon. friend has desired to have the correspondence with the governments of Newfoundland and Great Britain with regard to the new treaty negotiated by Newfoundland with the United States. I shall be glad to bring down any correspondence in the possession of this government, but with regard to the attitude we have taken on the subject, I may say that the question is one that has long engaged our attention and that we have obtained, as the result of our efforts, the assurance that if Newfoundland be allowed by Great Britain to negotiate a treaty with the government of the United States, there shall be no discrimination in it against Canada and that the same treatment given to the American republic shall be given to the Canadian confederation.
My hon. friend also urged that the time is opportune to reopen negotiations with Newfoundland with a view to its entrance into confederation. Let me say that the government of the Hon. Sir Mackenzie Bowell lost a fine opportunity of settling that question. At all events there were then negotiations far advanced, and I believe that had a little more generous disposition been shown by Canada to Newfoundland, the question would have been settled there and then. But if Sir Mackenzie Bowell could have settled the question and did not do so, I cannot blame him veiy much, because so long as the French shore difficulty is not disposed of it, will always be a serious bar to the entrance of Newfoundland into confederation. I think that Newfoundland ought to be a part of confederation. I am prepared at any time to meet the representatives of Newfoundland in order to facilitate that end. But I would hesitate very much, even if it were in my power to complete the transaction, to do so unless this most irritating question of the French shore were removed from the probability of creating mischief in Canada.